An Post Ras 2017 stage 5

*****

Stage 5, Thursday May 25: Buncrana to Dungloe (181.2 kilometres):

This stage is significantly flatter than the previous one, with just two category three ascents lying in wait. However at 181.2 kilometres this is the longest stage of this year’s An Post Rás and tiring legs may find the distance to be a big consideration.

As was the case on stage four, Burnfoot and Burt feature on the route, after which the peloton will tackle a fast descent at Ramelton, pass through Rathmullen and then begin the category three climb of Anny Far and Near/Carnagarrow (km. 69.7).

Just over five kilometres later they will scrap it out to the top of the category three Ballymastocker (km. 75), then race on to the Donegal Gaeltacht locations of An Bhualtaigh, Tulaigh na Dala, Leat Beg and Carraig Airt. From there the race heads to Portnablagh and then the An Post primes in Dunfanagy (km. 124) and Falcarragh (km. 136).

After the latter less than 50 kilometres remain on the stage, with the route taking the riders through locations such as Gweedore, Anagaire and Mullahduff before the finish line in Dungloe.

—-

11.00: Good morning and welcome to the live coverage for today’s stage, starting in a very sunny Buncrana. It’s a beautiful day – bright, blue skies and warm temperatures.

11.05: The riders are rolling out of the town and awaiting the official start. Some riders are trying to sort out mechanicals and a little extra time has been given. But they need to move quickly.

11.07: This is race director Tony Campbell’s assessment of what is in wait:

“The day to Dungloe has just two categorised climbs but it is the longest stage. There is a lot of undulating roads along the way. That up and down terrain plus the distance will make it very hard, but also where it comes in the race.

“The riders will have done three days of good speed to begin with, then that tough climbing stage to Buncrana. I reckon that will be a fantastic stage.”

The race is now on – we expect plenty of attacks early on.

11.08: On the way out of the town, the riders pass a stunning beach to their right. It’s postcard stuff.

186 riders took the start. Despite yesterday’s gruelling stage, it seems like there are no overnight withdrawals. That’s great.

11.09: Today’s stage is significantly flatter than yesterday’s. Wind and speed will likely play a big part in how things play out.

11.11: The GC is incredibly tight – have a look.

Overall classification after four stages:

1, Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 12 hours 56 mins 24 secs
2, Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
3, Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
4, Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
5, Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
6, James Gullen (Britain JLT Condor) all same time
7, Ziga Rucigaj (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana) at 19 secs
8, Morgan Kneisky (France Armée de Terre) at 1 min 2 secs
9, Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap)
10, Elliott Porter (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) both same time
11, Michael Storer (Australia National Team) at 1 min 15 secs
12, Stéphane Poulhies (France Armée de Terre) at 1 min 17 secs
13, Darragh O’Mahony (Ireland National Team)
14, Sean McKenna (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) both same time
15, Tilen Finkst (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana) at 2 mins 19 secs

11.12: The top six riders are all level on time, and separated by accumulated stage placings. Race radio has just given the exact totals:

Teggart has a total of 55 placings. He was 23rd on stage one, 27th on stage two, then first and fourth.

Ronning Vinther has 83, Groen has 96, Aaen Jørgensen has 101, Shaw has 154 and Gullen has 260.

So, if they all finish together today, Ronning Vinther has to beat him by 28 places to draw level.

11.12: Four riders have clipped away. They are:

Eoin Morton (Ireland National Team)
Ian Bibby (Britain JLT Condor)
Ziga Jerman (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana)
Anthony Walsh (Cork Aqua Blue Sport)

It will be interesting to see if the bunch will take a tight control early on or if it will give a group some room to manoeuvre. The length of the stage may mean things are not quite so tightly controlled early on.

11.20: at 9.4 kilometres, the peloton is back together. All one group.

11.21: Now three riders go clear:

Angus Fyffe (Ireland National Team), Seán Lacey (Cork Aqua Blue Sport) and Jason Prendergast (Galway Team iTap).

They have been joined by Jonas Aaen Jørgensen(Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling), Daan Meijers(Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) and Ian Richardson(Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles)

And then by Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction), Jerome Mainard (France Armée de Terre) and Matic Groselj (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana).

11.23: However the peloton isn’t happy about this and brings them back.

11.24: Now Thómas Rostollon (France Armée de Terre) attacks and is joined by Eoin Morton (Ireland National Team) and Mitchell Mulhern (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam).

11.25: All together again, but stretched out in one long line in the right gutter.

11.26: Thómas Rostollon (France Armée de Terre) pushes on alone again.

11.28: He’s been caught once again. Nothing is getting much room at all today. At least, not yet.

11.36: Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling) is now slightly clear.

Matic Groselj (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana) and Jake Gray (Ireland National Team) are leading the peloton. Poots has been caught.

11.40: Jeremy Durrin (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) and Robin Kelly (Waterford Racing) are slightly clear.

And now, at 24.7 kilometres, it’s all back together again.

11.49: Jan Willem Van Schip (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) and Mitchell Mulhern (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) are drilling the pace and causing splits in the peloton. The yellow jersey is in the front part of the bunch.

The mountains jersey is caught out, being in the third group on the road. He’s trying to bridge.

The first and second groups on the road have merged, so he’s slightly behind and chasing.

This was the mountains classification this morning:

1, Michael Storer (Australia National Team) 26 points
2, Gruffudd Lewis (Britain Madison Genesis) 20
3, Jacob Sitler (USA CCB Velotooler) 20
4, Jacob Sitler (USA CCB Velotooler) 19
5, Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon) 16

That group has got back up to the peloton, so panic over.

Storer did a superb ride yesterday, taking that stage win with a strong ride over the mountains leading to Buncrana. He’s one of Australia’s most promising young riders. You can read more about him here.

11.56: The peloton is moving at 66 kilometres per hour at the moment. There’s a tailwind giving some assistance, but the speed is certainly on too.

12.00: Thómas Rostollon (France Armée de Terre) has attacked again.

12.08: Now Michael O’Loughlin (Britain Team Wiggins) gets across.

Mark Dowling(Cork Strata3 / VeloRevolution) is chasing hard.

The bunch is at 22 seconds.

12.09: The two leaders are 12 seconds clear of Dowling.

12.11: They are still 12 seconds ahead of Dowling. The peloton is now 40 seconds back.

12.12: Dowling’s teammate Simon Ryan (Cork Strata3 / VeloRevolution) jumps across to him to help in the chase.

12.14: The peloton is a minute back.

Now the two leaders are 35 seconds ahead of Dowling and Ryan. The peloton is still a minute back.

12.18: Latest time gap: 32 seconds between the two leaders and two chasers. The bunch is 48 seconds behind the first riders. This is the most serious looking move thus far today.

We are a couple of kilometres ahead of the leaders and passing another stunning beach – fantastic weather here in Donegal. The riders will welcome that.

12.20: Those two chasers have been caught. So now just two leaders out front. They have 42 seconds at this point in time.

12.24: The gap is 30 seconds.

12.28: It drops to 20 seconds.

12.32: Now four riders jump across. They are Eoin Morton (Ireland National Team), stage one winner Nicolai Brochner Nielsen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling), stage two winner Jan Willem Van Schip (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) and Louis Carnec (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles).

The six leaders are heading towards the first climb of the day, the category three climb of Anny Far and Near/Carnagarrow (km. 69.7).

12.35: The peloton is gradually drawing closer, and is just 100 metres back.

12.44: The riders have scaled the day’s first climb, and the results are in.

Category three climb of Anny Far and Near/Carnagarrow (km. 69.7).

1, Michael Storer (Australia National Team) 5 pts
2, Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon) 4
3, Jacob Sitler (USA CCB Velotooler) 3
4, Cameron Meyer (Australia National Team) 2

12.46: At 73.4 kilometres, things are all together.

The riders now head toward the day’s second and final climb.

12.48: Here are the results for that.

Category three Ballymastocker (km. 75):

1, Michael Storer (Australia National Team) 5 pt
2, Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon) 4
3, Jacob Sitler (USA CCB Velotooler) 3
4, Elliott Porter (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) 2

And so Storer extends his lead in the KOM classification.

12.58: Three riders are going clear – former WorldTour pro Cameron Meyer (Australia National Team), Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor) and Jerome Mainard (France Armée de Terre).

They have been joined by Regan Gough (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)

13.04:Meyer, Laverack and Gough remain out front and have been joined by James Gullen (Britain JLT Condor), Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) and Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam).

Six leaders, so Mainard must have gone back to the next group.

These are 16 seconds ahead of large group containing the yellow and green jerseys.

Speaking of the green jersey, this is the points classification starting today:

1, Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) 36 points
2, Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 27
3, Christopher Latham (Britain Team Wiggins) 25
4, Stéphane Poulhies (France Armée de Terre) 24
5, Jan Willem Van Schip (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) 23

Bakker led the race up until yesterday. He was caught out on the climbs, but has the consolation of the green jersey.

13.14: The leaders are now 39 seconds ahead of eight chasers. The yellow and green jerseys are in a group one minute and ten seconds back.

13.15: These are the eight chasers:

Mark Downey (Ireland National Team)
Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Robert-Jon McCarthy (Britain JLT Condor)
Michael O’Loughlin (Britain Team Wiggins)
Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
Morgan Kneisky (France Armée de Terre)
Thómas Rostollon (France Armée de Terre)
Stéphane Poulhies (France Armée de Terre)

There are three chasers in the next group:

Sean McKenna (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon)
Seán Lacey (Cork Aqua Blue Sport)

The yellow jersey group is at two minutes and 10 seconds.

13.21: The eight chasers are at 45 seconds.

So, interestingly, although those two climbs were just category three, they have helped break things right up.

13.25: That three-man chase group is now at two minutes.

13.29: The gap between the first two groups on the road is up to one minute and ten seconds.

13.33: At kilometre 104.1, the peloton at 3 minutes 25 seconds. Sounds like those three chasers were caught.

13.44: The peloton is one minute 10 seconds ahead of the chasers.

13.59: The gaps keep growing – at kilometre 122, the leaders are one minute 50 ahead of eight chasers.

The peloton is at six minutes! That’s surely game over for the yellow jersey, in terms of holding his lead.

14.12: At kilometre 131, the chasers are at two minutes 15 seconds. The yellow jersey group has reduced the gap somewhat – it’s at four minutes 40 seconds.

We were behind the break for several minutes – they are working really well together. Cameron Meyer is the most experienced of the riders here – a class act. He took two gold medals in the track world championships this year.

14.15: The leaders are inside the final 50 kilometres of the stage – heading for 40 kilometres to go. Although it was flatter than yesterday, this stage ended up being really decisive.

I chatted to Cameron Meyer last night. He said that he and the team were marked out of it on the first couple of days, but that they were looking forward to the wind direction changing today. He’s certainly made the most of that.

Let’s give a reminder as to how things stand:

Cameron Meyer (Australia National Team)
Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor)
Regan Gough (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
James Gullen (Britain JLT Condor)
Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam).

Are the leaders.

The chasers are:

Mark Downey (Ireland National Team)
Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Robert-Jon McCarthy (Britain JLT Condor)
Michael O’Loughlin (Britain Team Wiggins)
Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
Morgan Kneisky (France Armée de Terre)
Thómas Rostollon (France Armée de Terre)
Stéphane Poulhies (France Armée de Terre)

And this was the top 15 this morning:

1, Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 12 hours 56 mins 24 secs
2, Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
3, Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
4, Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
5, Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
6, James Gullen (Britain JLT Condor) all same time
7, Ziga Rucigaj (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana) at 19 secs
8, Morgan Kneisky (France Armée de Terre) at 1 min 2 secs
9, Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap)
10, Elliott Porter (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) both same time
11, Michael Storer (Australia National Team) at 1 min 15 secs
12, Stéphane Poulhies (France Armée de Terre) at 1 min 17 secs
13, Darragh O’Mahony (Ireland National Team)
14, Sean McKenna (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) both same time
15, Tilen Finkst (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana) at 2 mins 19 secs

Groen is the big dangerman – he started the day level on time with Teggart. He’s now the yellow jersey on the road.

14.20: The six leaders are two minutes 45 ahead of the eight chasers. The peloton is at four minutes 20.

By the way, Daan Meijers took the An Post sprint prime at Falcarragh. Unlike the first day, there are no time bonuses up for grabs.

14.22: Let’s sort the leaders by their GC placings this morning – that will give a clearer picture. Bear with us…

14.30: So, here is where the riders in the break were this morning. As you can see, there were two riders level with the race leader this morning.

Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) – 3rd at 0 seconds
James Gullen (Britain JLT Condor) – 6th at 0 secs
Cameron Meyer (Australia National Team) – 21st at 2 mins 41 secs
Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) – 44th at 8 mins 35 secs
Regan Gough (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) – 46th at 9 mins 7 secs
Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor) – 74th at 13 mins 31 secs

As mentioned earlier, those in the top six were separated by stage placings. Groen had an accumulated total of 96 placings compared to Gullen’s 260 (lower is better).

In other words, if they all finished together Gullen would need to gain time over Groen, even one second, to take the lead.

14.32: The six leaders are now three minutes and ten seconds ahead of the eight chasers. As for the bunch, it’s now five minutes and 20 seconds back.

Unless something very peculiar happens, the new race leader will come from this first group. That could possibly end up being the overall race winner.

Meyer’s class means he has to be considered a big contender for the stage win. He’ll want to clip away before the end rather than wait for a sprint.

He can’t be ruled out of the final yellow jersey – really a very good rider.

His past achievements include World and Commonwealth titles on the track, overall victory in the Tour Down Under, a stage win in the Tour de Suisse and team time trial successes in the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. That dwarfs anything other riders in the race have done.

He actually walked away from the sport last year, having lost motivation. However after a couple of months off he got his interest back and decided to focus on track racing. That’s still the goal, but road is also an interest again.

14.44: The leaders now have just 25km to go. The last time check put them three minutes and 35 seconds ahead of the next riders. The stage and the yellow jersey will go to one of those out front.

14.46: The peloton is at seven minutes 20 seconds! This has been a classic Rás day of upheavals and huge time gaps.

14.50: The leaders keep pulling clear. They have four minutes now. They are really working well together.

14.55: Now four minutes and five seconds.

15.00: Elliott Porter (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) has been ahead of the peloton, chasing for quite some time. There is a five man chase group behind him, but they are a long way behind the first group on the road.

15.01: We are ahead of the break – this finale is very rolling. Perfect for one or more riders to push ahead and go for the stage win. Just waiting for the attacks…

15.03: And, with that, those attacks have started.

The chasers are at 3 minutes 45 seconds.

15.07: The leaders are inside the last ten kilometres. They are together at this point in time.

15.09: The chasers have passed ten kilometres to go. They are four minutes back, which should put the leaders inside the final seven kilometres.

The roads to the finish are twisting and turning, and exposed to wind. Perfect for attacks to go.

15.11: Reminder – these are the leaders. The stage winner and new yellow jersey will come out of this group.

Cameron Meyer (Australia National Team)
Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor)
Regan Gough (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
James Gullen (Britain JLT Condor)
Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam).

Laverack and Gullen plus Groen and Meijers have the numerical advantage over the two riders without teammates. Will that determine the stage victor? We will see soon…

15.13: There’s a gradual uphill drag to the line. Laverack has attacked, and has four kilometres to go. No time gaps to the others, will hopefully get that soon…

15.14: It’s back together now at the front…five leaders, Groen has been dropped.That could mean Gullen will be the new race leader.

Reminder – this was the GC for those leaders this morning.

Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) – 3rd at 0 seconds
James Gullen (Britain JLT Condor) – 6th at 0 secs
Cameron Meyer (Australia National Team) – 21st at 2 mins 41 secs
Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) – 44th at 8 mins 35 secs
Regan Gough (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) – 46th at 9 mins 7 secs
Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor) – 74th at 13 mins 31 secs

15.16: Two kilometres to go…

15.18: Laverack has been dropped…

They are sprinting for the line…

15.19: Gough takes it! The Kiwi wins ahead of Meyer and Meijers. Gough is fourth and is the new race leader…

That’s the best scenery I can remember on a Ras stage. The sun helped, but the beaches and countryside were stunning.

15.22: The chase group is at one kilometre to go. Big time gaps today…

Chase group now sprinting for the line…

Those chasers finished four minutes 38 seconds back. Gullen now leads overall by one minute and five seconds, with Meyer at two minutes 35. Bear with us – top ten on stage and GC coming…

15.49: Here we go – the results for the stage:

An Post Rás (2.2)

Stage 5, Thursday May 25: Buncrana to Dungloe:

1, Regan Gough (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 181.2 kilometres in 4 hours 11 mins 20 secs
2, Cameron Meyer (Australia National Team) same time
3, Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) at 1 sec
4, James Gullen (Britain JLT Condor) at 6 secs
5, Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor) at 1 min 6 secs
6, Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) at 1 min 11 secs
7, Robert-Jon McCarthy (Britain JLT Condor) at 4 mins 38 secs
8, Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
9, Morgan Kneisky (France Armée de Terre)
10, Stéphane Poulhies (France Armée de Terre)
11, Mark Downey (Ireland National Team)
12, Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
13, Michael O’Loughlin (Britain Team Wiggins) all same time
14, Thómas Rostollon (France Armée de Terre) at 4 mins 51 secs
15, Sasha Weemaes (Belgian National Team) at 9 mins 22 secs

Category three climb of Anny Far (km. 69.7):

1, Michael Storer (Australia National Team) 5 pts
2, Jacob Sitler (USA CCB Velotooler) 4
3, Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon) 4
4, Cameron Meyer (Australia National Team) 2

Category three Ballymastocker strand (km. 75):

1, Michael Storer (Australia National Team) 5 pts
2, Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon) 4
3, Jacob Sitler (USA CCB Velotooler) 3
4, Elliott Porter (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) 2

Post office prime at Dunfanagy: 1, Ed Laverack (Britain JLT Condor)
Post office prime at Falcarragh: 1, Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)

City North county rider:

1, Matteo Cigala (Cork Aqua Blue Sport) 4 hours 20 mins 42 secs
2, Fintan Ryan (Westmeath Team Planet X Carnac)
3, Richard Maes (Kerry Killarney)
4, Christopher McGlinchey (Cycling Ulster)
5, Dermot Trulock (Donegal Voodoo Performance)

Team stage:

1, Britain JLT Condor, 12 hours 39 mins 50 secs
2, Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam, 12 hours 44 mins 34 secs
3, Ireland An Post Chain Reaction, 12 hours 40 mins
4, France Armée de Terre, 12 hours 48 min 7 secs
5, Australia National Team, 12 hours 52 mins 44 secs

Irish county team:

1, Down Bikehouse, 13 hours 2 mins 6 secs
2, Cycling Ulster
3, Cork Aqua Blue Sport
4, Tyrone Omagh
5, Cork Strata 3/VeloRevolution, all same time

Overall classification after five stages:

1, James Gullen (Britain JLT Condor) 17 hours 7 mins 50 secs
2, Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) at 1 min 5 secs
3, Cameron Meyer (Australia National Team) at 2 mins 35
4, Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling) at 4 mins 32
5, Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) same time
6, Morgan Kneisky (France Armée de Terre) at 5 mins 34 secs
7, Stéphane Poulhies (France Armée de Terre) at 5 mins 49 secs
8, Thómas Rostollon (France Armée de Terre) at 7 mins 10 secs
9, Michael O’Loughlin (Britain Team Wiggins) at 7 mins 13 secs
10, Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) at 8 mins 30 secs
11, Regan Gough (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) at 9 mins 1 sec
12, Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) at 9 mins 16 secs
13, Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling) same time
14, Mark Downey (Ireland National Team) at 9 mins 23 secs
15, Ziga Rucigaj (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana) at 9 mins 35 secs

Points:

1, Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) 36 pts
2, Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) 32
3, Stéphane Poulhies (France Armée de Terre) 30
4, Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 27
5, Robert-Jon McCarthy (Britain JLT Condor) 26

Mountains:

1, Michael Storer (Australia National Team) 36 pts
2, Jacob Sitler (USA CCB Velotooler) 27
3, Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon) 23
4, Gruffudd Lewis (Britain Madison Genesis) 20
5, Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 19

Under 23 rider:

1, Michael O’Loughlin (Britain Team Wiggins) 17 hours 15 mins 3 secs
2, Regan Gough (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) at 1 min 48 secs
3, Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) at 2 mins 3 secs
4, Mark Downey (Ireland National Team) at 2 mins 10 secs
5, Ziga Rucigaj (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana) at 2 mins 22 secs

County rider:

1, Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) 17 hours 18 mins 8 secs
2, Christopher McGlinchey (Cycling Ulster) at 3 mins 46 secs
3, Darnell Moore (Down Bikehouse) at 3 mins 49 secs
4, Philip Lavery (Tipperary Panduit) at 4 mins 40 secs
5, Ronan McLaughlin (Cork Aqua Blue Sport) at 5 mins 6 secs

Cycling Ireland Category 2 rider:

1, Ronan Costelloe (Limerick Newcastle West / Rockwell) 17 hours 35 mins 33 secs
2, Stuart Henry (Antrim Phoenix) at 13 mins 45 secs
3, Brian McArdle (Dublin Orwell Scott) at 22 mins 11 secs
4, Ben Cady (Leitrim Velo Cafe Magasin) at 23 mins 4 secs
5, Rónán O’Shea (Waterford Racing) at 42 mins 27 secs

Team (non-county):

1, Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam, 51 hours 35 mins 47 secs
2, Ireland An Post Chain Reaction, at 1 min 15 secs
3, France Armée de Terre, at 4 mins 59 secs
4, Australia National Team, at 4 mins 59 secs
5, Britain JTL Condor, at 15 mins 57 secs

Irish county team:

1, Cork Aqua Blue Sport, 52 hours 12 mins 31 secs
2, Cork Strata3/Velorevolution, at 2 mins 42 secs
3, Down Bikehouse, at 4 mins 44 secs
4, Dublin UCD FitzCycles, at 13 mins 27 secs
5, Cycling Ulster, at 16 mins 44 secs

As you can see, what seemed on paper to be a less difficult stage than yesterday and tomorrow proved to be very decisive. The GC has been completely reshuffled this evening. Will there be further big changes tomorrow?

Come back tomorrow morning to find out – we’ll be doing more live coverage and tracking the riders as they head back into the big mountains. Thanks for reading, more then!

*****

An Post Ras 2017 stage 4

*****

Stage 4, Wednesday May 24: Bundoran to Buncrana (151.8 kilometres):

This fourth day of the race is another in Donegal. The race has had a mainly flat profile up until this point but that will change dramatically en route to Buncrana, with five categorised climbs lurking along the route.

The racing begins in Bundoran and heads through Ballyshannon, Laghey, Donegal town, Ballybofey, Stranorlar and Letterkenny prior to the start of the day’s first climb, the 2.8 kilometre category three Maghera Beg (km. 79.7).

After Burt, Burnfoot and Buncrana this is followed by the second ascent, the category three Slavery Hill (km. 112.8). This is immediately followed by the category two Old Mountain (km. 119.5) and then, right away, by the similarly-ranked Pinch Mountain (km. 122.7).

That trio of close peaks will likely break things up. Any regrouping will be jarred by the final climb, the fearsome Mamore Gap (km. 137.4), with the category one slopes likely to cause even more havoc.

From there just 14.4 kilometres remain until the finish, making it likely that the up and down roads will play a major effect on the shape of the race.

—–

11.00: Good morning and welcome to the start of stage four of the race. This will be a big day in determining the final overall classification, with plenty of climbing in store.

This is what the race director Tony Campbell expects:

“This stage to Buncrana should be a great one. Mamore Gap is one of the hardest climbs in the country, but it’s also very hard before you even get there. There is a lot of climbing on the way there, and it is pretty hard to come back from it also. There will be a chase all the way back into the finish.

“This time, we will be doing a loop around Buncrana. It is a different sort of approach than before. They put ramps in the middle of the road on the previous finish, so we are using a new run in. There is a steep hill up to the line in Buncrana and it will make for a fantastic finish.”

11.03: There were 185 riders at the start. One was missing – Nathan Draper of Team Wiggins. The riders are in the neutralised zone and the flag is about to drop.

11.07: The first attack of the day has come from Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team).

He has been joined by three others – Jan Willem Van Schip (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam), Ziga Jerman (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana) and Conn McDunphy (Donegal Voodoo Performance).

11.09: At 4.4 kilometres, it’s all back together once again.

11.11: Still intact leaving Ballyshannon.

11.13: There are three riders clear.

11.14: They now have a nine second advantage over the chasers. Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the bunch, riders are being shelled. That’s going to be a long day for them…hopefully a group gets established to help them to the finish.

Okay, these are the three leaders: Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon), Michael Cuming (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) and Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam).

11.18: They are still out front, and have 18 seconds.

It’s overcast today, but relatively bright. At the weekend there were predictions that there would be a heatwave during the week, but unfortunately that hasn’t panned out. It’s about 17 degrees. Fortunately, it’s dry.

Sun is forecast for tomorrow. That said, predictions about the weather in Ireland are often a bit hit and miss – it really does change a lot here. So let’s see.

The last time the race was in Donegal, five years ago, it was incredible weather.

11.24: Other riders are trying to get clear of the peloton and bridge to the leaders. Let’s see what develops.

Okay, the split has been closed down, and the leaders’ lead has been cut to ten seconds. This could come back together.

11.25: There is plenty of climbing today, but nothing official for quite some time. The day’s first climb, the 2.8 kilometre category three Maghera Beg, is at kilometre 79.7.

11.30: At 21.5 kilometres, the peloton has caught the leaders. It’s all together.

Things are more measured thus far today: Yesterday saw a flurry of attacks. It’s likely a combination of fatigue and also apprehension about the tough kilometres in store today.

That said, for those courageous enough to go for it at this point, there is a chance of building a decent gap. If riders are playing things conservatively, early aggressors could profit.

11.38: The group is still together leaving Donegal town, at kilometre 27.6.

11.42: Still together at 30.7 kilometres.

11.45: Three riders briefly got clear but were recaptured.

Now Fintan Ryan (Westmeath Team Planet X Carnac) is attacking.

Other attacks are going off.

11.48: Ryan was caught and now Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) has gone clear. There is a chase on now.

11.54: He was caught. There have been many attacks, but nothing is sticking. It’s all together at present.

12.02: Paul Kennedy (Limerick Newcastle West / Rockwell) is now clear.

And now, at 47 kilometres, it’s all together again.

Thus far today has seen quite a few attacks, but nothing getting a decent gap. And here’s why – the average speed in the first hour of racing was 48.3 km/h.

12.08: Now Marcus Flavin (Down Newry) and Paul Kennedy (Limerick Newcastle West / Rockwell) are clear.

12.15: Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) goes again and opens a gap.

12.19: At 51 kilometres, he is still clear with a chasing group going after him. He’s 15 seconds ahead.

12.20: Six riders got up to the leader. Another is about to join.

The bunch is 100 metres behind the leaders. This could come back together again. If not, we’ll have names.

12.24: There are seven leaders:

Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Gruffudd Lewis (Britain Madison Genesis)
Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon)
Joey Walker (Britain Team Wiggins)
Yannis Yssaad (France Armée de Terre)
Jan Willem Van Schip (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
Marcus Flavin (Down Newry)

They are being chased by three others – Thómas Rostollon(France Armée de Terre), Ike Groen(Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) and a third rider – the race radio is breaking up a lot, so we are not 100 percent certain of his identity. We think it is Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling).

We’ll hopefully get clarification soon.

12.27: The peloton is breaking up, so the speed is on.

12.28: The time gap is 26 seconds between the leaders and the peloton. No mention of that chase group in the time gap, so it may have been caught.

12.30: Yes, that chase group has been caught. There is now one rider alone in pursuit – Tilen Finkst (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana). He is 30 seconds back, with the peloton a further ten seconds behind.

12.33: Finkst has been caught. The leaders are 55 seconds clear at 72.8 kilometres.

They are getting close to the day’s first climb, the 2.8 kilometre category three Maghera Beg (km. 79.7).

The next climbs will be the category three Slavery Hill (km. 112.8), the category two Old Mountain (km. 119.5) and then, right away, the similarly-ranked Pinch Mountain (km. 122.7).

That trio of close peaks will likely break things up. Any regrouping will be jarred by the final climb, the fearsome Mamore Gap (km. 137.4), with the category one slopes likely to cause even more havoc.

12.35: Those clear at the top of the climb will have a decent chance of fighting for the stage win. There is just 14.4 kilometres from the summit until the finish line.

The Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam team of race leader Dennis Bakker is doing much of the chasing.

12.37: Despite that chasing, the gap is up to one minute 15 seconds. Bakker’s team may be allowing this gap to go out gradually, trying to deter more attacks. It will then aim to reel it back in later.

12.43: The peloton is now one minute 55 back. The break is being aided by a tailwind.

12.46: Here’s the result of the first climb:

Category three climb of Maghera Beg (km. 79.7).

1, Gruffudd Lewis (Britain Madison Genesis) 5 pts
2, Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon) 4
3, Joey Walker (Britain Team Wiggins) 3
4, Jan Willem Van Schip (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) 2

12.49: With 83.7 kilometres covered, the leaders are two minutes and 8 seconds ahead.

12.53: It’s increased to two minutes and 15 seconds. So, they are still building a buffer before the big mountains ahead.

12.57: Another slight increase: two minutes and 18 seconds.

13.01: And now two minutes 24 seconds. They are doing a good job of building a lead.

13.04: We’ve had a lack of mobile broadband coverage, but will keep typing in the meantime and will update when we can reconnect.

13.06: At 97 kilometres, the gap is now up to two minutes 30 seconds. It keeps inching upwards.

The sun is coming out at times. It’s still cloudy but there are some small gaps and that’s letting the light through.

The roads are flat for now but that’s the calm before the storm. It’s going to get a lot tougher soon.

These will be the first real climbs of this year’s race, and will give a much clearer picture of who will be this year’s challengers for the final overall victory.

13.08: For the first time, the gap has started to drop. It’s now two minutes 20 seconds. Has the pendulum swung, or is this just a temporary glitch? We’ll see soon…

13.10: The first two hours have been run off at a 47.7 km/h average. That’s brisk.

13.15: At kilometre 104.6, confirmation that the gap is continuing to fall. The break is now two minutes and ten seconds ahead. Many big teams have missed the move and have an incentive to chase.

A reminder – the riders out front are Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction), Gruffudd Lewis (Britain Madison Genesis), Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon), Joey Walker (Britain Team Wiggins), Yannis Yssaad (France Armée de Terre), Jan Willem Van Schip (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) and Marcus Flavin (Down Newry).

13.22: The leaders are now on the second climb of the day, Slavery Hill. The summit is at km. 112.8. It’s only a category three ascent, but is followed by the category two Old Mountain (km. 119.5) and the category two Pinch Mountain.

13.26: At the top of the climb, the break is now just one minute 37 ahead. That’s a big drop. It looks like this move will either be hauled back or, possibly, joined by others in the near future.

13.29: Now just one minute and five seconds.

The roads heading towards Old Mountain are much tougher (as expected).

Australia are leading the peloton.

The summit of Old Mountain is very exposed, with a felled forest exposing the riders to wind. Fortunately for the leaders, it’s relatively calm today.

There is a very fast descent off Old Mountain. We are heading down from the summit, while the riders are climbing it.

13.31: Marcus Flavin( Down Newry) has been dropped from the break, leaving six in that group.

13.33: The gap is down to 32 seconds.

Race radio is breaking up a lot in the hills. Here’s a partial result for Slavery Hill and a full result for Old Mountain.

Category three Slavery Hill (km. 112.8):

1, Christopher Latham (Britain Team Wiggins)
2, Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon)

Category two climb of Old Mountain (km. 119.5):

1, Gruffudd Lewis (Britain Madison Genesis)
2, Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon)
3, Jan Willem Van Schip (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
4, Joey Walker (Britain Team Wiggins)
5, Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
6, Michael Storer (Australia National Team)

13.40: Race radio reception is pretty garbled, unfortunately. We think there are three leaders.

Correction – two leaders. They are Jacob Sitler (USA CCB Velotooler) and Michael Storer (Cycling Australia). They are 30 seconds clear.

Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) has got back up to the two leaders.

13.47: They are now 47 seconds clear, so the gap is building.

We are not quite sure if the partial result for Slavery Hill is correct – Christopher Latham was not in the break.

13.50: We think Storer took the prime on Pinch mountain, ahead of Sitler. Apologies for uncertainty – race radio is very hit and miss.

The leaders are heading towards 20 kilometres to go.

13.51: In the overall KOM classification, Gruffudd Lewis (Britain Madison Genesis) is leading Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon).

13.52: The leaders are at 20 kilometres to go. They are 55 seconds ahead of the chasing group at kilometre 131.2. The yellow jersey is in a group further back.

13.53: The leaders are now one minute clear.

13.55: The gap continues to grow – one minute and ten seconds.

13.56 : We drove on to the Gap of Mamore – it’s extremely steep. There is a great crowd at the top.

The yellow jersey is at two minutes 45 seconds. That’s game over.

13.57: The leaders are on the climb now. The race is going to blow to pieces on those slopes.

14.03: The leaders are one minute 40 ahead of the next group on the road. This chase group includes yesterday’s stage winner, Matthew Teggart (An Post Chain Reaction).

Correction: there is now one leader. Storer has pushed ahead of the others and is riding towards what he hopes will be a stage win.

He started the day 38th, three minutes and three seconds back. So yellow is unlikely.

14.07: The second group on the road is at one minute 35 seconds. It’s not clear if race radio is referring to Sitler and Kasperkiewicz, or those behind them.

14.10: Okay, clarification: Storer is through ten kilometres to go, and has a 30 second advantage on Sitler. Kasperkiewicz is a little further back, with the chase group at one minute.

14.12: Okay, update – Kasperkiewicz is at one minute 20.

Earlier, Storer was first to the top of Mamore, with Sitler second, Kasperkiewicz third and Mark Dowling fourth.
14.13: Sitler is losing ground: he’s at 45 seconds.

The last few kilometres are very twisting and turning, with undulations. It’s a complicated run-in to the line.

14.15: The chasing group contains 26 riders. Both Storer and Sitler were three minutes and three seconds back this morning, so the next race leader will likely come from the chase group.

This was the overall this morning:

1, Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) 9 hours 35 mins 47 secs
2, Stéphane Poulhies (France Armée de Terre) at 22 secs
3, Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
4, Darragh O’Mahony (Ireland National Team)
5, Ian Bibby (Britain JLT Condor)
6, Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
7, Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
8, Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
9, Philip Lavery (Tipperary Panduit)
10, Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
11, Sean McKenna (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
12, James Gullen (Britain JLT Condor)
13, Ziga Rucigaj (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana) at 41 secs
14, Mitchell Mulhern (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) at 1 min 22 secs
15, Samuel Welsford (Australia National Team) same time

So, it could be any one of a number of riders taking over at the top tonight. Suspenseful stuff!

14.16: Storer is at five kilometres to go… He is one minute clear of Sitler.

14.17: He’s got four kilometres to go… This is looking very good for him.

14.19: Confirmation that Kasperkiewicz is still in third. He is one minute 45 back, but just ten seconds ahead of the chase group. It’s going to be tough to hold them off, but he is doing a courageous ride in trying to do so.

14.20: He’s been caught by a 27-man chase group.

The leader is at two kilometres to go… Barring a crash or puncture, he should take this.

14.21: Sitler is inching closer. He’s at 48 seconds now, but will surely run out of time. Storer is at one kilometre to go.

14.23: Storer takes it! Great win…

He crosses the line and is congratulated by the team support staff.

Sitler takes second. Not quite sure who was third, but it might have been an Arme de Terre rider in third. Bear with us…

14.36: Morgan Kneisky was the Arme de Terre rider in third place. We are awaiting confirmation of more placings and the GC. Matthew Teggart is hoping he takes yellow; he started the day third overall.

14.38: And, yes, it appears he does have yellow…that’s great for the young An Post Chain Reaction rider.

14.56: Here are the provisional results:

An Post Rás stage 4, Bundoran to Buncrana:

1, Michael Storer (Australian National Team) 3 hours 18 mins 49 secs
2, Jacob Sitler (USA CCB Velotooler) at 1 min 23 secs
3, Morgan Kneisky (France Armée de Terre) at 1 min 26 secs
4, Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
5, Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
6, Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
7, Joe Evans (Britain Madison Genesis)
8, Ziga Rucigaj (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana)
9, Mark Downey (Ireland National Team)
10, Cameron Meyer (Australia National Team) all same time

Overall classification after four stages:

1, Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 12 hours 56 mins 24 secs
2, Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
3, Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
4, Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
5, Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
6, James Gullen (Britain JLT Condor) all same time
7, Ziga Rucigaj (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana) at 19 secs
8, Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) at 55 secs
9, Morgan Kneisky (France Armée de Terre) at 1 min 2 secs
10, Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) same time

Points classification:

1, Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) 36 points
2, Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 27
3, Christopher Latham (Britain Team Wiggins) 25

Mountains classification:

1, Michael Storer (Australia National Team) 26 points
2, Gruffudd Lewis (Britain Madison Genesis) 20
3, Jacob Sitler (USA CCB Velotooler) 20

Young rider:

1, Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 12 hours 56 mins 24 secs
2, Ziga Rucigaj (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana) at 19 secs
3, Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) at 1 min 2 secs

County rider overall:

1, Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) 12 hours 57 mins 26 secs
2, Philip Lavery (Tipperary Panduit) at 15 secs
3, Simon Ryan (Cork Strata3 / VeloRevolution) at 1 min 17 secs

So, as you can see, it’s very tight at the top. There are six riders on the same time. Yellow was decided by stage placings.

Those results are subject to confirmation: for example, not quite sure if Dennis Bakker will remain in the top ten. He had been in one of the groups behind the chase group.

Exciting day’s racing! We’ll leave it there for now – interviews to be done. Thanks for reading. Come back tomorrow for more..with the GC so tight, there will be plenty of motivation for attacks on stage five.

*****

An Post Ras 2017 stage 3

*****

Stage 3, Tuesday May 23: Newport to Bundoran (149 kilometres):

Another mainly flat and fast day, this will begin at the previous day’s finish line prior to heading through Glenhest, Crossmolina and Ballina en route to the sole An Post prime in Inishcrone (km 59.5). From there the route winds through Rathlee, Easkey, Dromore West, Templeboy, Dromard, Ballisadar, Rathcormac, Drumcliff and Ciffoney prior to racing into Bundoran and the final gallop to the line.

Donegal rider Ronan McLaughlin put in a massive display five years ago when the race last finished in the town, striking out seventy kilometres from the line in a solo move prior to being passed inside the final 100 metres. The then-An Post rider is now racing as an amateur and may take a slightly more conservative approach this time around, in terms of his timing, although going for the stage win will almost certainly be on his mind.

—–

10.58: Good morning and welcome to the live coverage from day three of the An Post Ras. We are in Newport, the riders are preparing for the off and the sun is out. Should be a great day.

Here’s race director Tony Campbell’s assessment of what the stage should have in store.

“This third day brings us up into Donegal. There will be plenty of climbing during the days we are in this area, although this stage is practically flat again. There are good roads for racing on.

“The stage goes to Bundoran. The last time we were here, Ronan McLaughlin was clear for a long, long time, and then caught with about 100 metres to go. It was a very dramatic finish. I think it will most likely be a bunch gallop.”

11.00: There is a piper playing as the seconds click down until the riders roll out. As before, we will be ahead of the first riders, using race radio for most information. We’ll hopefully be able to drop behind the lead riders if the gap between groups gets big enough.

11.02: After a neutralised zone of perhaps 200 metres, the race is on….

11.04: Four riders have jumped clear. They have been joined by a fifth and are trying to create a decent gap. d

11.05: However it’s all back together at 1.9 kilometres.

11.08: At the moment nine riders are 100 metres ahead of the main field. No names as yet – let’s see if this gets established.

11.10: The riders are Jake Gray (Ireland National Team), Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction), Samuel Welsford (Australia National Team), Robert-Jon McCarthy (Britain JLT Condor), Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling), Mitchell Mulhern (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam), Ziga Rucigaj (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana), Anthony Walsh (Cork Aqua Blue Sport) and Philip Lavery (Tipperary Panduit).

11.12: There are also nine chasing riders. They are at 11 seconds.

The peloton is at 23 seconds.

11.15: The chasers are at ten seconds, so no real progress as yet. The peloton is 34 seconds back.

Those chasers are:

Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Sean McKenna (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Mitchell Webber (Britain Bike Channel Canyon)
Elliott Porter (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team)
Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
Stéphane Poulhies (France Armée de Terre)
Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
Tilen Finkst (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana)

11.20: The nine leaders have been joined by nine chasers, so 18 out front.

11.22: The gap between the leaders and the bunch is 58 seconds at 15.6 kilometres. This group has a solid gap, although it remains to be seen if the 18 will work well together. Sometimes groups can be too big, and a whittling-down is needed before things work smoothly.

11.23: The peloton has been informed of the gap and a chase is on.

11.27: Looks like that chase is now off. At 18.8 kilometres, the gap is a considerable two minutes 25 seconds…that opened very quickly.

11.30: We’ve just received confirmation via race radio that there is another rider in the break – Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling).

He’s teammate of the race leader Nicolai Brochner Nielsen, who has missed the move.

Also absent are Thómas Rostollon (France Armée de Terre) and Christopher McGlinchey (Cycling Ulster). They had started the day fourth and seventh overall.

11.32: Time gap at kilometre 21.6: two minutes 45 seconds.

11.36: If this group cooperates, there could be a really considerable time gap this evening. Most of the strong teams are represented. As the time gaps overall are small at this point, it means that there are fewer GC positions to be protected, leading to less conservative racing.

11.43: The main field is split into a number of smaller groups, suggesting the hammer has gone down. The next time gap will be interesting.

11.45: At 33.3 kilometres the gap has dropped to one minute 50 seconds. So that’s almost two minutes less than it was 12 kilometres ago. The speed increase from the bunch has made a difference.

11.46: Morgan Kneisky (France Armée de Terre) and Simon Ryan (Cork Strata3 / VeloRevolution) have clipped away from the peloton. That’s not a good sign for the bunch, as it suggests the chase isn’t as organised as it might be. If the speed was consistently on it would be very difficult for a small group of riders to push ahead.

The number of teams represented out front decreases the number of those who will chase behind.

11.49: At 36.4 kilometres there is now a chasing group of nine riders.

Darragh O’Mahony (Ireland National Team)
James Gullen (Britain JLT Condor)
Ian Bibby (Britain JLT Condor)
George Atkins (Britain Bike Channel Canyon)
Morgan Kneisky (France Armée de Terre)
Matic Groselj (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana)
Simon Ryan (Cork Strata3 / VeloRevolution)
Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap)
Sean Yelverton (Tipperary Panduit)

11.50: They are at one minute 45 seconds with the peloton at 2 minutes.

That’s the best scenario for Kneisky and Ryan – two would find it very difficult to get up to the 19 out front, but a committed group of nine have a better chance.

11.56: At 42.9 kilometres, the chasing nine are now at one minute 35 seconds. The peloton is at one minute 55 seconds. There’s over 100 kilometres to go yet to Bundoran and much could, and will, happen.

11.59: Latest time gap: one minute 30 to the chasers, so they have reduced their deficit by five seconds. The peloton is at one minute 50, also five seconds less than before, so that suggests the leaders have lost a little pace.

As mentioned before, the size of that front group may make it less efficient. It’s easier for riders to miss turns when the group is so large.

12.01: The leaders have just gone through Ballina. The time gaps are the same as before.

The leaders have covered 50 kilometres now. There are 99 kilometres to go today.

12.05: Average speed for the first hour of racing was 44.9 kilometres per hour.

Correction – there is 18 rather than 19 leaders. We had 19 names before so one of those must be incorrect.

There are eight chasers – one of those in pursuit sat up.

12.08: The race leader Brochner Nielsen is now driving the chase.

12.14: The peloton is now beginning to split in half. That’s an indication that the hammer has gone down.

Shaw won the An Post prime in Inishcrone (km 59.5).

12.17: No sooner said, the peloton reforms again. It seems to be stop-go racing in the bunch.

Shaw remained out front after going for that prime, and is five seconds clear.

12.19: The eight chasers have been making inroads and are just 48 seconds behind the leader now.

The peloton is at one minute 45 at 61.4 kilometres.

Clarification of the rider who went back from the chase group some time ago: it was Sean Yelverton (Tipperary Panduit).

12.24: Those chasers are inching closer…they are 44 second back. The peloton remains one minute 45 in arrears.

Michael O’Loughlin (Team Wiggins) is attempting to break clear of the main field. He’s a talented rider, but it’s going to be difficult to bridge. He will likely be hoping others will join him.

12.27: And that happens – Alexandar Richardson (Britain Bike Channel Canyon) gets up to him. So two chasing eight chasing eighteen.

12.28: At 68.7, the leaders are now 28 seconds ahead of the eight chasers.

12.31: At 70.9 kilometres, the chasers have caught the leaders. That makes it 26 leaders. O’Loughlin and Richardson are at one minute 35 seconds, and have been joined by two others. The peloton is ten seconds further back.

12.37: The four chasers are at one minute 30. Alexandre Blain (Britain Madison Genesis) tried to get across but was unable to do so. He’s now at two minutes 15 seconds, with the peloton at two minutes 45 seconds. That’s ominous for the yellow jersey.

12.40: Clarification: the four chasers are Michael O’Loughlin (Team Wiggins), Alexandar Richardson (Britain Bike Channel Canyon), Bryan Boussaer (Belgian National Team) and Jacob Silter (USA CCB Velotooler).

They are at one minute 26 seconds. Blain is closing, and is now at one minute 45 seconds. The peloton – and therefore the yellow jersey – is now three minutes back. He’s likely panicking at this point.

12.58: The chasers are at one minute 30. The roads ahead are wide open and straight heading towards Sligo, which may enable those in pursuit to see the break ahead. That will likely give them some encouragement.

Blain got close but never made it across to the four chasers. He has been joined by Sasha Weemaes (Belgian National Team), but they are a full four minutes and 26 seconds back now. Blain must have really slowed to lose that much time over the past 20 minutes. He clearly gave everything to try to bridge to the four ahead of him.

The bunch is at five minutes 15 seconds. It seems pretty clear there will be a new race leader at the end of the day.

13.17: After 104.5 kilometres of racing, the four chasers – Michael O’Loughlin (Team Wiggins), Alexandar Richardson (Britain Bike Channel Canyon), Bryan Boussaer (Belgian National Team) and Jacob Silter (USA CCB Velotooler) – are at one minute 40. They appear to be losing ground.

How far back is the bunch now?

Answer: four minutes and 45 seconds.

13.23: The chasers are now losing more time. After 110 kilometres, they are at two minutes and five seconds. There are only 39 kilometres left before the finish in Bundoran. It looks like this lead group will fight it out for the stage and also yellow.

The peloton is four minutes and 30 seconds back. It is accelerating, but unless the break really starts messing around it looks very unlikely this move will be caught.

13.27: Simon Ryan (Cork Strata3 / VeloRevolution) has attacked out of the break. He is 15 seconds ahead of the group.

13.31: The peloton is now four minutes and ten seconds back. The break split and eight riders got up to Ryan.

13.35: The lead group is:

Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Ian Bibby (Britain JLT Condor)
George Atkins (Britain Bike Channel Canyon)
Elliott Porter (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team)
Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
Ziga Rucigaj (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana)
Simon Ryan (Cork Strata3 / VeloRevolution)
Philip Lavery (Tipperary Panduit)

These nine are 150 metres ahead of the remaining 17 riders. Meanwhile the four chasers are two minutes 35 down.

13.36: The 17 chasing the nine leaders are reducing their gap slightly. In fact, those leaders have been caught by the rest of the break. So, 26 leaders again.

Two minutes 35 to the four chasers.

They are inside the final 30 kilometres.

13.37: The yellow jersey has gone clear with a group, but they are still three minutes 55 back. The rest of the peloton is at four minutes 15.

13.39: The yellow jersey group is:

Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Cameron Meyer (Australia National Team)
Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor)
Gruffudd Lewis (Britain Madison Genesis)
Nicolai Nielsen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
Thómas Rostollon (France Armée de Terre)
Seán Lacey (Cork Aqua Blue Sport)

Meanwhile the leading group is inside the final 25 kilometres of this stage. It has split and a dozen or so have pushed onwards.

13.41: Several other riders are getting up to the yellow jersey group.

13.45: The yellow jersey group is at three minutes 25 seconds.

13.49: Update: There are now 13 leaders. These are:

Darragh O’Mahony (Ireland National Team)
Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Sean McKenna (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
James Gullen (Britain JLT Condor)
Ian Bibby (Britain JLT Condor)
Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
Stéphane Poulhies (France Armée de Terre)
Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
Ziga Rucigaj (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana)
Philip Lavery (Tipperary Panduit)

These are 30 second ahead of the other 13 who were in the day’s break.

The four chasers – Michael O’Loughlin (Team Wiggins), Alexandar Richardson (Britain Bike Channel Canyon), Bryan Boussaer (Belgian National Team) and Jacob Silter (USA CCB Velotooler) – are at one minute 35.

The yellow jersey group has really accelerated and is now just one minute 45 seconds back. That’s impressive.

13.52: The leaders are entering Cliffney, at 134.4 kilometres. So, just under 15 kilometres left.

The 13 leaders are now 40 seconds ahead of the 13 chasers.

13.54: Now the second group is 48 seconds back. So, continuing to lose ground.

13.57: We wonder if that last time gap was inaccurate; the yellow jersey group is now said to be two minutes 25 kilometres back.

14.00: Now reports saying the jersey group is just 45 seconds behind the chasing group. An updated time check will be useful – stand by.

14.01: Okay, the jersey is at two minutes 38 seconds. The 13 chasers are 45 seconds back.

We’ve gone ahead to the finish in Bundoran and are awaiting the leaders. They are inside five kilometres to go…

14.03: The last time gap put the chasers at 50 seconds. So, it’s between the 13 leaders for the stage…and most likely yellow, too.

14.07: The leaders are in the last kilometre….

14.08: It’s a sprint…

Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) wins the gallop! An Army de Terre rider was third, subject to confirmation. Might have been Team Wiggins in second. Bear with us..

14.09: Actually, think it was JLT Condor in second. Awaiting confirmation, but may have been Bibby.

14.11: There will be a new yellow jersey this evening.

Here’s the top three on the stage:

1, Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
2, Ian Bibby (Britain JLT Condor)
3, Stéphane Poulhies (France Armée de Terre)

Stand by for more…

14.15: That’s a great result for Teggart. His team is backed by An Post, as is the race. So the pressure is always on the squad to deliver here.

14.21: Still awaiting more results… Let’s see if we can confirm the new race leader.

Okay, it’s Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam). He also has the King of the Mountains at present, so it’s been a good three days for him…

Poulhies is now second overall with Teggart third…stand by for more detailed results.

Here you go – provisional results for this third stage:

An Post Rás (2.2)

Stage 3, Newport to Bundoran:

1, Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 149 kilometres in 3 hours 6 mins 8 secs
2, Ian Bibby (Britain JLT Condor)
3, Stéphane Poulhies (France Armée de Terre)
4, Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
5, Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
6, Philip Lavery (Tipperary Panduit)
7, Darragh O’Mahony (Ireland National Team)
8, Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
9, Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
10, Sean McKenna (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) all same time

General classification:

1, Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) 9 hours 35 mins 47 secs
2, Stéphane Poulhies (France Armée de Terre) at 22 secs
3, Matthew Teggart (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
4, Darragh O’Mahony (Ireland National Team)
5, Ian Bibby (Britain JLT Condor)
6, Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
7, Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
8, Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
9, Philip Lavery (Tipperary Panduit)
10, Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) all same time

Points: Bakker
Mountains: Bakker
Young rider: Teggart
County rider (stage and overall): Lavery

Bakker has the lead in the general classification, the points competition and the mountains contest. So, a good day for him..

We’ll leave things there for now – interviews to do after the stage. Thanks for reading, come back tomorrow!

*****

An Post Ras 2017 – stage 2

*****

Stage 2, Monday May 22: Longford to Newport (142.9 kilometres)

Stage two of this year’s An Post Rás has a similar look to stage one in some ways, given that it also features three intermediate sprints. The first of those comes after the riders leave Longford and pass through Lanesborough, Ballyleague and Roscommon. It is located in Ballymoe and will play out after 48.7 kilometres of racing. This is followed just 9.1 kilometres later by the second An Post Prime, located in Williamstown (km. 57.8).

From there the peloton will entertain crowds in Cloonfad, Claremorris, Balla, Manulla and Kilnageer before the day’s third and final An Post Prime in Breaghwy (km. 108.5). This is located on the outskirts of Castlebar, after which the battle will pass through Westport prior to the conclusion at the finish in Newport.

—–

11.07: Good morning and welcome from Longford, where 190 riders have just begun stage two of this year’s An Post Rás.

The flag has officially dropped and the peloton is racing out of the town, en route to Newport.

This is race director Tony Campbell’s assessment of what’s in store.

“The second day is pretty flat, good racing roads. I think there will be a split and there will be a small group coming in together, like the last day we went into Newport. It should be an exciting stage.”

11.09: The first rider to attack today is David Watson (Down Bikehouse), who wants to get a group started early on.

He’s quickly hauled back.

11.14: At five kilometres, four riders are going clear of the bunch. No names have been announced as yet. Ah, that’s why – they are back in the bunch.

By the way, an explainer: We are doing the live coverage from one of the race cars. We are generally working off race radio, although when a break has a big enough advantage over the bunch we can drop in behind that group and work visually as well.

A word about the weather – it’s sunny at the moment, but there’s plenty of cloud too. It rained earlier but is dry now.

11.18: Three riders attacked. They didn’t get far, though, and that move has been brought back.

11.27: Countless other attacks have been fired off, to no avail. However a group now has a small advantage. Let’s see if it gets established or not.

As yesterday, we’ll list the names of riders if groups get established.

Given that a breakaway was able to stay clear yesterday, it’s likely the bunch will try to keep a closer control of things today. Many of the teams caught out won’t want to make the same mistake again.

11.32: There have been a succession of attacks. There’s plenty of racing happening but, thus far, no group has stayed clear.

It’s now spitting rain, but it’s inconsequential – not heavy yet.

11.34: Another group is going clear…

11.38: And now, like before, everything is back together. There is a very tight control on things thus far today.

11.44: The riders have covered 28.5 kilometres and, despite the numerous attempts by groups to get free, things are all together.

11.46: An interesting story about yesterday: one of the riders in the break, Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) beat Thomas Rostollon (France Armee de Terre), Christopher McGlinchey (Cycling Ulster) and Nicolai Brochner Nielsen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling) to win the category three prime of Lough Crew.

As it was the day’s only categorised climb, that earned him the mountains jersey. At the time race radio stated that it would actually see him wear the jersey until stage four as there were no climbs on stages two and three. So, was it a predetermined plan by Bakker or his team to maximise publicity in the days ahead? Curiously, no; we’ve heard that he was pleasantly surprised to be told yesterday that he’d have the jersey so long, having been unaware that there are no categorised climbs in the next couple of days.

11.50: Ten riders were clear, but nine have been brought back. One rider continued onwards: Cameron Meyer of the Australian national team.

If his name sounds familiar, that’s because he was a WorldTour professional for many years. He competed with Garmin-Slipstream between 2009 and 2011, Orica GreenEdge between 2012 and 2015 and Team Dimension Data last season.

However last year he walked away from his contract. He later clarified his decision, saying that he wanted to refocus on track racing and mentoring young riders. His participation in the An Post Rás is part of the latter.

That return to focussing on the track has paid off: he took gold medals earlier this year in the track world championship, winning the points race and team pursuit.

Earlier in his career, he took overall wins in the Tour Down Under and the Herald Sun Tour, as well as a time trial stage in the Tour de Suisse and team time trial victories in the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.

If he’s got good road form, he could be one of the big danger men this week.

11.53: Two riders are going clear. They are Sean McKenna (Ireland An Post Chainreaction) and Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam).

They are being chased by Alexander Richardson (Britain Bike Channel Canyon).

11.54: At kilometre 36, Richardson gets across to the leaders. There is now a three man group out front.

11.55: Now Eoin Morton (Ireland national team) is bridging across.

The peloton reacts and has brought Morton back. The three leaders only have a couple of seconds over the splintering main field.

11.57: There are now eight leaders. No names announced as yet, so it’s unclear if the previous three leaders are part of this group.

We’ll give more information when we get it.

12.01: Change at the front: now Meyer attacks again and pushes onwards, being joined by Jonas Jorgensen (Denmark Riwal Platform).

However they have been caught. All the racing has provoked a split in the peloton, with between 20 and 25 riders ahead.

12.04: At 43.9 kilometres, Stephane Poulhies (France Armee de Terre) tries to get clear. He opens a small gap but it is then closed down.

Poulhiès has won stages in the Etoile de Besseges and Kreiz Breizh, as well as the overall classification of the 2015 Tour de Gironde.

12.06: There is still a split in the bunch so let’s see if it develops into something or if things come back together.

Meyer, Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) and Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) are the ones forcing the pace at the front and trying to get a move clear.

45.7 kilometres were covered in the first hour.

12.11: That split is still ahead. It is 25 seconds ahead of the peloton.

Meanwhile Ian Bibby (Britain JTL Condor) has taken the first sprint of the day.

12.12: Confirmation that 32 riders are in the front part of the split.

They are now 28 seconds ahead.

12.14: This has now come down to 22 seconds. Will it stay ahead? There are plenty of strong riders up there, but it remains to be seen if they will work together or not.

12.19: It looks like things are coming back together.. just 100 metres between those two groups now.

12.23: All together at 57.4 kilometres. They are about to dispute the second An Post Prime, located in Williamstown (km. 57.8).

Matic Groselj (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana) takes that prime.

12.26: Now two riders are attacking: Mark Dowling (Cork Strata3 / VeloRevolution) and Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap).

Mark is the son of Mick Dowling, former Irish international boxer. He took two bronze medals at the Europeans and finished fourth in the 1972 Munich Olympics in the bantamweight division.

They have been recaptured.

12.29: Now Craig Rea (Antrim Phoenix) and Dermot Trulock (Donegal Voodoo Performance) attack.

They have been joined by two others, and now more riders are trying to bridge.

Jonas Aaen Jørgensen(Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling), Jan Willem Van Schip(Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) and Fintan Ryan(Westmeath Team Planet X Carnac) are the chasers. We didn’t get the two who joined the leading duo but everything is back together once more.

The bunch has covered 65.8 kilometres. Today’s stage is 142.9 kilometres, so they are getting close to half way.

12.39: Sean Lacey (Cork Aqua Blue Sport) has a slight lead.

12.43: He has been joined by four others – Sean McKenna (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction), Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team), Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) and Simon Ryan (Cork Strata3 / VeloRevolution).

12.55: With 82.5 kilometres covered, they have 36 seconds.

13.01: The bunch continues to chase the leaders. The gap is now 28 seconds. A small chase group of six or seven riders is going clear entering Claremorris. In fact, that’s two groups going clear in pursuit.

13.08: After a lot of racing, things have all closed up again. But it’s just a matter of time until the next break goes.

13.11: There are now nine leaders, ten seconds ahead. They are Sean McKenna (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction), Ian Bibby (Britain JLT Condor), Thomas Moses (Britain JLT Condor), Michael O’Loughlin (Britain Team Wiggins), Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling), Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam), Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam), Seán Lacey (Cork Aqua Blue Sport) and Simon Ryan (Cork Strata3 / VeloRevolution).

These are 15 seconds ahead of a chase group of about 15 riders. The peloton is 28 seconds back.

13.22: At 102.2 kilometres. The 21 chasers have caught the nine leaders. 30 leaders.

13.25: Barriers at a railway crossing have come down! The race has been stopped.

Under UCI rules, it would normally be restarted with the same time gaps. However as the gap is less than 30 seconds, they will all start together again. That’s a shame for the break – the riders worked hard to get their gaps.

13.32: The prime at Breaghwy (km. 108.5) was taken by Noah Granigan (CCB Velotooler). Just before it he jumped clear with Eoin Morton (Ireland National Team), and now they have 12 seconds.

A reminder – Morton won stage two of last year’s race, and has been motivated today. He’s trying to make history repeat itself.

13.34: The gap is down to ten seconds.

13.38: They have been caught and Edward Laverack (Britain JLT Condor) and Alexandar Richardson (Britain Bike Channel Canyon) have pushed ahead.

We’ve no idea why as yet, but Gerben Thijssen (Belgian National Team) has been disqualified from the race. Towing, or something else? Hopefully clarification later.

Mark Dowling (Cork Strata3/Velorevolution) has joined the two leaders, making it three out front.

13.43: Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chainreaction) has jumped across. Jan Van Schip (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) is also bridging.

Meanwhile the Belgian team car has been summoned to the commissaire’s car. That’s presumably relating to Thijssen’s disqualification.

13.47: The five leaders are working well together, and now have a 50 second gap…!

And now clarification that Thijssen has been allowed back into the race. No idea what that was about. We weren’t given any extra information other than he was out, and is now back in again.

13.55: The leaders are through 20 kilometres to go. They are 57 seconds ahead…that’s the best gap all day.

13.57: It’s now one minute…

13.58: With 16 kilometres left, it’s now 55 seconds…

14.01: Now 45 seconds…it’s coming back, little by little. Bunch sprint?

14.04: As the leaders race into Westport, it’s 38 seconds. The peloton is relentless in chomping down on the lead.

14.09: We have gone on to the finish and are awaiting the riders… There’s a very slight rise to the finish line in Newport, but nothing that would suit the climbers. It’s a technical finish with a 90 degree left hand turn with about 200 metres to go.

14.12: The leaders are inside the final eight kilometres and have just 18 seconds…it’s looking very unlikely they will stay clear. Still, they will keep trying…

14.14: Van Schip attacked and, with five kilometres to go, he has a 13 second lead on the others in the move…

14.15: With four kilometres to go, the others have been caught. He’s still out front, and has 22 seconds….great ride.

14.16: It’s now 28 seconds..

14.17: He’s inside three kilometres to go…

He’s got 23 seconds…

14.18: Now 21 seconds…

14.19: He’s at one kilometre to go, and still clear… .

14.19: 500 metres to go…

14.20: He does it! Superb win…really impressive…

We think Chris Latham of Team Wiggins was the winner of the bunch sprint, taking second…

One of the Armee de Terre riders was third..

14.25: Here’s a provisional result:

An Post Rás (2.2)

Stage two, Longford to Newport:

1, Jan Willem Van Schip (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
2, Christopher Latham (Britain Team Wiggins)
3, Yannis Yssaad (France Armée de Terre)
4, Matteo Cigala (Cork Aqua Blue Sport)
5, Andrew Tennant (Britain Team Wiggins)
6, Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
7, Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)
8, Robert-Jon McCarthy (Britain JLT Condor)
9, Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon)
10, Richard Maes (Kerry Killarney) all same time

General classification:

1, Nicolai Brochner Nielsen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling) 6 hours 29 mins 30 secs
2, Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) at 9 secs
3, Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) same time
4, Thómas Rostollon (France Armée de Terre) at 15 secs
5, Alexandre Blain (Britain Madison Genesis) at 23 secs
6, Jan Willem Van Schip (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) at 24 secs
7, Christopher McGlinchey (Cycling Ulster) at 28 secs
8, Christopher Latham (Britain Team Wiggins) at 31 secs
9, Matteo Cigala (Cork Aqua Blue Sport)
10, Robert-Jon McCarthy (Britain JLT Condor) both same time

Points: Latham
Mountains: Bakker
Young rider: Sasha Weemaes (Belgian National Team)
County rider: McGlinchey

So, no change to the race lead, although Van Schip moves up four places to sixth.

14.40: We’ll leave it there for now – interviews to be done! That was a dramatic finish, and an impressive ride by the winner. Come back tomorrow for more from the An Post Ras…

*****

An Post Ras 2017 – stage 1

*****

Stage 1, Sunday May 21: Dublin to Longford (146.1 kilometres)

Day one of the An Post Rás rolls out from the same location as twelve months earlier, namely the historic Dublin Castle. This time around the 10.2 kilometre neutralised section will take them under the arch at Christ Church cathedral, past Heuston Station and on to the official drop of the flag outside St Loman’s hospital, Palmerstown.

The route then winds through Leixlip, Maynooth, Kilcock, Summerhill and Trim prior to the first An Post Hot Spot Sprint in Athboy (km 53.9). It then takes the riders over the race’s first official climb, the category three Lough Crew (km 73.6), and then into Oldcastle for another An Post Hot Spot sprint (km. 78.8).

From there the riders head to Ballyjamesduff and into Granard, where the day’s third and final An Post Hot Spot sprint (km. 120.2) will take place. This is just over 25 kilometres from the conclusion of the stage and the pace will be intense.


In addition to offering more time bonuses, that gallop will be the precursor to the sprint to the finish line in Longford, where the race’s first stage winner and initial yellow jersey will be decided.

—–

11.59: Good morning and welcome to live coverage from the first stage of the An Post Rás. We are at Dublin castle and about to drive off ahead of the riders, who are departing from here. There’s a big crowd and mild weather – cloudy, but bright. Forecast is for sun after today, though!

12.00: We are rolling past Christchurch, going under the arch as the bells sound for noon. The first 10.2 kilometres are neutralised, then the race begins.

After a couple of last minute withdrawals there are 193 riders in the race; the most since 197 in 2005.

12.06: We have just passed Heuston station, heading towards St. Loman’s hospital, where the flag will drop. It’s 18 degrees outside and no sign of rain at present.

The last time we were in Donegal – 2012 – there was a heatwave for several days. With the race heading back there, everyone had their fingers crossed since the route announcement that the same would happen this year. Not to jinx it, but the forecast at present is that the same great weather could happen again. Fingers crossed!

12.08: This is the assessment of Race Director Tony Campbell about today’s stage.

“We are starting in Dublin Castle, just as we did last year to commemorate the anniversary of 1916. There was a good response then from the event manager in there, Stephen Tobin. He was very pleased with how it went and that made it quite straightforward to start there again.

“There is just one climb at Oldcastle, as well as three Hot Spot sprints. They are for time bonuses towards the GC, although the stage winner will still be the rider who wears the yellow jersey.

“The last time we did this route in 2013, it all stayed together for much of it and then Conor Dunne went clear with another rider. He took the stage and the jersey that day. It could also be similar to the stage to Carlow when things stayed together for about the first three hours and then blew apart. The last part is very undulating and I think there could be something similar again, with a break getting clear.”

12.20: Still rolling along in the neutralised section…

12.28: We are waiting at the official start point. The riders have stopped at the zero kilometre point, taking off extra clothing and readying for the start of racing. Not long to go…

12.30: And we are off! Racing has officially started and we are underway.

As mentioned above, there are three An Post Hot Spot Sprints: in Athboy (km 53.9), Oldcastle (km. 78.8) and Granard (km. 120.2). These give time bonuses towards the GC, although bonuses at the finish today enure that the stage winner will also wear the leader’s jersey.

There is also one climb, the category three Lough Crew (km 73.6).

12.33: Tilen Finkst (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana) is the first attacker of this year’s race.

He was joined by Robin Kelly (Waterford Racing) but, after 2.8 kilometres of racing, it’s all together again.

12.34: Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) now attacks, together with Izidor Penko (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana). Another rider joins them – I think it was Seán Hahessy (Cork Aqua Blue Sport).

However it’s all come back together again.

12.36: The peloton is now racing through Leixlip.

12.37: Four riders have a small advantage. Rather than calling every attempted breakaway, we’ll give you names when something gets established.

The opening stage of the race is a particularly aggressive one, as riders are fresh and also aware that a stage win will also mean a stint in yellow. Every one of the 193 riders will roll out dreaming of being in the jersey at the end of the day, even if it is more likely for some than others.

12.42: A group of approximately 15 riders is slightly clear. Meanwhile there has been a crash, although all the riders are back up on their feet.

12.48: That group was brought back. We are heading through Maynooth. The day’s first attacker, Tilen Finkst (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana) is clear again. This time he is with Sean Lacey (Cork Aqua Blue Sport).

12.50: They have now been joined by Angus Fyffe (Ireland National Team), making it three leaders.

Now three others get across: Sean McKenna (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction), Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling) and Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam)

12.53: They are 20 seconds ahead of Darragh O’Mahony (Ireland National Team), with the peloton a few seconds further back.

The leaders are heading through Kilcock… O’Mahony has been caught. The six leaders have 24 seconds with 18 kilometres covered.

13.00: The gap is down to 12 seconds. The fast pace is shelling riders out the back of the bunch. There is a tailwind right now, driving the speeds up.

13.02: Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) is chasing alone behind, slightly ahead of the peloton.

He is now with four other chasers at kilometre 25.

13.09: It’s all back together in Summerhill.

13.10: And now it’s kicking off once again – a group of approximately 25 is marginally ahead.

13.12: It’s more a split in the bunch. The two groups are now ten seconds apart.

It’s cloudy ahead but, for now at least, it is staying dry.

13.19: The race is now entering Trim (km. 40.2).

13.20: It sounds like those gaps have merged. Now Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) is clear.

There are a few splatters of rain but nothing serious.

13.22: He’s now increased his advantage to eight seconds. He’ll be hoping that a group comes up to him – long way to go to the finish.

13.24: He’s now 20 seconds clear…

Two riders are now in pursuit – Thomas Rostollon (France Armee de Terre) and Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam).

13.26: As the France Armee de Terre name suggests, the team is comprised of soldiers.

13.27: The two chasers are at ten seconds. The bunch, meanwhile, is 24 seconds back. It’s now spitting rain.

13.28: Those chasers have now caught Kasperkiewicz. They have covered 47 kilometres in total, and are 18 seconds ahead of the bunch.

13.30: The first hour of racing was run off at 47.9 kilometres per hour…brisk!

13.32: At kilometer 50, the leaders are being chased by three others.

Alexandre Blain (Britain Madison Genesis), Nicolai Nielsen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling) and Christopher McGlinchey (Cycling Ulster) are trying to bridge.

13.34: They make the junction, so there are now six leaders.

13.35: At 58 kilometres, the gap is now 45 seconds. Is this the move of the day?

13.39: It’s up to one minute and four seconds… Looking good…

13.43: There are now four chasers at one minute ten seconds. They are Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team), Seán Lacey (Cork Aqua Blue Sport), Simon Ryan (Cork Strata3 / VeloRevolution) and Richard Maes (Kerry Killarney).

The peloton is at one minute 20.

14.02: The six leaders are at the day’s climb, the category three Lough Crew (km 73.6). There are four chasers at one minute 20 with the peloton now three minutes back.

By the way, we’ve just got the official results for the first prime.

An Post Hot Spot Sprint in Athboy (km 53.9)

1, Nicolai Nielsen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling)
2, Alexandre Blain (Britain Madison Genesis)
3, Christopher McGlinchey (Cycling Ulster)

Meanwhile, Bakker jumps clear from the break, going for the KOM.

14.08: He got it, and will now wear the jersey until stage four as there are no climbs on stages two and three. Nice reward for his efforts. The multiple podium visits will also ensure good publicity for his Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam squad.

14.10: Here are the full results for that climb.

Category three Lough Crew (km 73.6):

1, Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) 5pts
2, Thomas Rostollon (France Armee de Terre) 4
3, Christopher McGlinchey (Cycling Ulster) 3
4, Nicolai Nielsen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling) 1

14.10: The four chasers are 55 seconds back.

14.11: At kilometre 76.1 The leaders are 55 seconds ahead of those four chasers. The peloton is at three minutes and ten seconds, with one rider, James Davenport (Cork Strata3 / VeloRevolution), in no man’s land ahead of the bunch.

The JLT Condor team is chasing hard, lining out the peloton.

14.12: The leaders have just gone through the An Post Prime at Oldcastle. The four chasers are at one minute now.

An Post Hot Spot sprint at Oldcastle (km. 78.8):

1, Alexandre Blain (Britain Madison Genesis)
2, Christopher McGlinchey (Cycling Ulster)
3, Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)

Davenport is at two minutes and 30 seconds, with those four chasers ahead of him.

14.15: Davenport has sat up, realising it’s impossible to bridge by himself.

14.19: A reminder of the six riders in the break: they are Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction), Thomas Rostollon (France Armee de Terre), Dennis Bakker (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam), Alexandre Blain (Britain Madison Genesis), Nicolai Nielsen (Denmark Riwal Platform Cycling) and Christopher McGlinchey (Cycling Ulster).

The four chasers are Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team), Seán Lacey (Cork Aqua Blue Sport), Simon Ryan (Cork Strata3 / VeloRevolution) and Richard Maes (Kerry Killarney).

14.24: Latest gaps: the four chasers are a minute behind, while the peloton is at three minutes and ten seconds.

*****

An Post Ras 2016 – stage 8

*****

Stage 8, Sunday May 29: Kildare to Skerries (148.4 kilometres):

ANPOST_RAS2016_Stage8

The final day of racing will be familiar to those who have competed in recent editions of the An Post Rás, travelling on many of the same roads prior to the crowd-thronged finale in Skerries.

It begins in Kildare and passes through Prosperous, Kilcock, Dunsany, Dunshaughlin, Ratoath and Curraha prior to the first of five category three climbs, that of Pluckhimin (km. 78.2). Coming after the village of Naul, the next climb, Cross of the Cage (km. 97.8), brings the riders onto the 13.8 kilometre finishing circuit and begins the final countdown to the crowning of the 2016 An Post Rás champion.


Following the first passage over the finish line (km. 106.2), the peloton will begin the first of three ascents of the Black Hills climb. These ascents come at kilometre 111, 124.9 and 138.8 and offer a last-gasp opportunity for aggressors to chase the stage win and overall honours.

—–

Stage8map

Good morning and welcome to the live coverage from the final stage of the 2016 An Post Ras.

12.05: 149 riders took the start on this, the final day of racing. It’s blazing sunshine, finishing off what has generally been a week of great weather.

12.10: There have been several attacks but nothing sticks.

Now Patrick Bosman (Austria Tirol Cycling Team), Jai Hindley (Australia National Team), Dylan Newbery (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team), Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), Louis Carnec (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles) try to get away.

12.15: They have been reeled in.

12.20: Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) and Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) now give it a shot.

12.22: They are hauled back. Now a new attack by Casper Von Folsach (Denmark Riwal Platform), Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles), Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) and Robin Kelly (Waterford Racing Club).

Craig Evers (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team) and Kieran Simcox (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) get across.

12.25: It’s all together.

Wouter Mol (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) and Mick Fitzgerald (Cork Strata3/Velorevolution) give it a shot. Again, the bunch ain’t in a giving mood, and they are reeled in.

12.30: Now eight try – Scott Thomas (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team), George Fowler (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), Joseph Evans (Britain Madison Genesis), Iloyd Chapman (Britain Pedal Heaven), Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team), Wouter Mol (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke), Brian McArdle (Dublin Orwell Wheelers Scott) and Aaron O’Brien (Limerick Mego Raw Cycles).

Different move, same story: it doesn’t get far.

12.40: There is a lull in action, but we definitely don’t expect things to stay together.

12.44: That didn’t take long – six riders clip away. They are Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team), Craig Evers (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team), Rob Partridge (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic), Joseph Breheny (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles) and Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

12.47: This attack is making better progress – 12 seconds.

12.48: Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) is trying to bridge.

12.50: Joseph Breheny (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles) was dropped by the break but he has latched onto the back of Potts.

12.52: Breheny was drooped again.

12.53: Potts is 10 seconds back with the main field at 25.

12.54: Potts is now 20 seconds back, while the bunch is now at 32.

12.55: Potts relents and waits. The bunch is now 45 seconds back.

12.59: Important – NPE Media, who have been doing the high;ights videos on the race, are going to trial alive Youtube broadcast today from 2pm. It will be here (click for link).

Of course, we will continue with the text updates so, combined, you’ll have loads of information.

13.05: 46.5 kilometres covered in the first hour of racing. No final day processions in this national Tour!

13.09: The gap is one minute.

13.10: The leaders pass the 50km board. They have 98.4 left ahead of them.

13.18: The break’s advantage continues to grow. It’s up to 1 minute 44 seconds now. They have done approximately 57 kilometres.

13.24: A reminder – there are five category three climbs today.

The first is Pluckhimin (km. 78.2) then, after the village of Naul, the Cross of the Cage (km. 97.8) brings the riders onto the 13.8 kilometre finishing circuit.

Following the first passage over the finish line (km. 106.2), the peloton will begin the first of three ascents of the Black Hills climb. These ascents come at kilometre 111, 124.9 and 138.8, and could well be used by the GC challengers and stage hunters to try to get clear.

13.28: The break is working well – now two minutes ten clear.

Today’s start was in a great location, Kildare Food Stores. Plenty of green fields and also a collection of animals like ostriches, goats, some Llama-type creatures, hens, turkeys and others. A mini-zoo, essentially.

13.35: It’s up to two minutes 40 seconds.

13.41: Those are a quick couple of phone shots from the start.

13.49: The leaders have crossed the climb of Pluckhimin (km. 78.2). The bunch then passed by the same point two minutes later.

The riders are inside the final 70 kilometres.

13.56: The results of that climb:

Category three climb of Pluckhimin (km. 78.2):

1, Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) 5 pts
2, Rob Partridge (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) 4
3, Craig Evers (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team) 3
4, Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team) 2

Here’s a recap of the overall standings this morning:

General classification after seven stages:

1, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 25 hours 3 mins 37 secs
2, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) at 3 secs
3, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 13 secs
4, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) at 19 secs
5, Damien Shaw (An Post Chain Reaction) at 58 secs
6, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) at 1 min 1 secs
7, Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis) at 1 min 2 secs
8, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) same time
9, James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 1 min 4 secs
10, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) at 1 min 6 secs
11, Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform) at 1 min 7 secs
12, Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) at 1 min 13 secs
13, Mark Downey (Ireland National Team) at 1 min 25 secs
14, Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) at 1 min 29 secs
15, Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic) at 1 min 34 secs

Points:

1, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 64 pts
2, Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform) 53
3, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 43
4, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) 40
5, Alistair Donohoe (Australia National Team) 39

Mountains:

1, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) 65
2, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) 40
3, Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) 35
4, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) 28
5, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 28

As you can see, McCrystal is third in the King of the Mountains. However even if he takes each of the five category three climbs, he will still be five points off the leader Holler.

13.57: The latest gap is one minute 37 seconds.

Here are the various other category standings:

Young rider:

1, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) 25 hours 3 mins 40 secs
2, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 10 secs
3, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) at 16 secs
4, Mark Downey (Ireland National Team) at 1 min 22 secs
5, Alistair Donohoe (Australia National Team) at 3 mins 32 secs

Irish county rider:

1, Ian Richardson (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles) 25 hours 14 mins 8 secs
2, Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) at 4 mins 9 secs
3, Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) at 6 mins 22 secs
4, Mark Dowling (Louth Asea Wheelworx) at 11 mins 39 secs
5, Sean McKenna (Cork Aquablue) at 14 mins 20 secs

Cycling Ireland category 2:

1, Lewis Ferguson (Down North) 25 hours 29 mins 38 secs
2, Andrew Bye (Down Newry Wheelers) at 15 mins 24 secs
3, Lorcan Davoust (Dublin South) at 49 mins 25 secs
4, John Clarke (Meath Navan Avonmore) at 1 hour 31 mins 12 secs
5, Daragh Mortimer (Dublin South) at 1 hour 42 mins 27 secs

Team:

1, Australia national team, 75 hours 13 mins 30 secs
2, Netherlands Join-S De Rijke, at 2 mins 5 secs
3, Ireland An Post Chain Reaction, at 10 mins 18 secs
4, Ireland national team, at 14 mins 28 secs
5, Britain Madison Genesis, at 14 mins 33 secs

Irish county team:

1, Louth Asea Wheelworx, 76 hours 12 mins 30 secs
2, Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles, at 5 mins 33 secs
3, Cork Aquablue, at 10 mins 2 secs
4, Down North, at 13 mins 14 secs
5, Kerry, at 17 mins 21 secs

14.09: With 55 kilometres left the gap is down to 52 seconds…

14.12: The break rallies and is up to one minute 17 now.

14.15: We have nipped on to Skerries and will continue typing from there. The break is now one minute 15 ahead. Once they get to Skerries they will have three laps of a 13.9 kilometre finishing circuit.

14.33: Both the break and the bunch have passed the finish line now – gap was over a minute.

14.36: The latest gap is one minute ten seconds.

14.47: The five leaders are still away, still working well. Bryan McCrystal leads them through…

Two laps to go….

14.49: The An Post team are chasing hard. 53 seconds at the line…

14.51: The An Post team has won several times on this final stage and is aiming to do so again.

If Aaron Gate can do so, it would be his second stage win of the race and would secure his green jersey points classification victory. That in turn would equal his haul from last year.

14.56: The break is on the climb again. Craig Evers (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team) has been dropped, leaving Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team), Rob Partridge (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic), Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) and Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) up there.

The bunch is now just 25 seconds back. It’s looking doubtful for the break….

15.00: Just 20 kilometres left in this race….

There’s a great crowd again in Skerries, and big blue skies..

15.02: They have pulled a little away – it’s up to 28 seconds now. Hard to see this working out, unfortunately, as the bunch is determined.

15.07: Conor Dunne led the break through for the bell – 33 seconds back to the bunch…

15.10: Anyone chances of dislodging Fankhauser for the overall are fading fast… Time is running out.

15.12: The break’s advantage ebbs again – 25 seconds… They are on the climb.

15.14: The bunch tore up that climb and the break has been caught… Great try by them.

Eddie Dunbar tried to get clear but his move was marked. It’s all together heading towards Skerries…

15.18: Six kilometres to go….the final countdown begins.

15.22: James Gullen has clipped away…inside the final two kilometres…

15.23: Inside the final kilometre…he’s got a tiny advantage…

15.24: He is caught…

Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform) takes the sprint… his second stage of the week. Superb result, and so too for Clemens Fankhauser – he was surely in there too.

15.29: He was, and he wins – second win in three years for the Austrian.

Here’s the provisional top four:

1, Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform)
2, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
3, Emiel Wastyn (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
4, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)

15.31: Gate was 11 points ahead of Brochner in the points classification this morning…

Brocher takes 15 points today, but Gate nets 12 and thus holds green.

This will likely be the final GC – same as this morning.

1, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 25 hours 3 mins 37 secs
2, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) at 3 secs
3, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 13 secs
4, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) at 19 secs
5, Damien Shaw (An Post Chain Reaction) at 58 secs
6, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) at 1 min 1 secs

15.37: We are awaiting the results printout – bear with us…

There you go – provisional results for the final stage and the overall. We will leave it there for now. Thanks for reading the updates during the week, and come back to this site later for a report, results, photos and a highlights video.

And congrats to all the riders who helped make a great race!

*****

An Post Ras 2016 – stage 7

*****

Stage 7, Saturday May 28: Dungarvan to Baltinglass (155 kilometres):
ANPOST_RAS2016_Stage7

Unless the gaps are tight in the general classification, the penultimate day of racing could prove to be the last chance for those trying to take the yellow jersey to make their move. The 155 kilometre leg from Dungarvan to Baltinglass includes four climbs, including a category one ascent, and will be hard-fought.

The first of those rears up at Killinaspick (category 3, km. 46.4) and, after Mullinavat and Inistioge, the second and third occur at Ballygallon Hill (category 3, km. 76.8) and Raheendonore Climb (category 3, km. 80.8).

The peloton will then race through Graiguenamanagh and Borris prior to the day’s biggest mountain, the category one Mount Leinster (km. 106.2).


The riders will then hurtle down the descent and on through Tullow and Rathvilly prior to the finish in Baltinglass.

—–

Stage7map

Good morning and welcome to the live coverage from day seven of the 2016 An Post Ras.

11.01: 152 riders took to the start. Edward Lavarack (Britain JLT Condor) and Alexis Dulin (France AVC Aix en Provence) were two who didn’t continue.

11.07: Four riders attack – Michael Storer (Australia National Team), Rob Partridge (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team) and Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx).

11.09: They have been caught.

11.15: There have been various other attacks but nothing has stuck.

11.20: Alex Harvey (NFTO) has abandoned. No word that he crashed today, so perhaps he was ill.

11.22: It’s overcast but quite bright.

The riders have covered 18 kilometres.

Matthieu Converset (France AVC Aix en Provence) and Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) have attacked.

11.25: They have been caught.

11.31: Four others clip away – Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team), Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven), Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform), Ike Groen (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke).

11.34: They have been caught.

This was the GC this morning:

General classification after six stages:

1, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 21 hours 27 mins 49 secs
2, Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis) at 2 secs
3, Damien Shaw (An Post Chain Reaction) same time
4, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) at 3 secs
5, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) at 5 secs
6, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) at 6 secs
7, James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 8 secs
8, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) at 10 secs
9, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 13 secs
10, Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform) at 15 secs
11, Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) at 17 secs
12, Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 19 secs
13, Taylor Gunman (Britain Madison Genesis)
14, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) both same time
15, Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) at 29 secs

As you can see, things are very tight at the top. Fankhauser has ridden brilliantly to defend but has to monitor quite a few riders today. Seven are within ten seconds and six others are less than 20 seconds back.

11.34: Noah Granigan (USA CCB Racing) and Robin Kelly (Waterford Racing Club) have attacked.

11.37: They have been caught.

11.42: Here are the other classifications this morning.

Points:

1, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 56 pts
2, Nicolai Brochner (Denmark Riwal Platform) 53
3, Emiel Wastyn (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) 35
4, Alistair Donohoe (Australia National Team) 32
5, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) 31

Mountains:

1, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) 47
2, Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) 29 pts
3, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) 25
4, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) 22
5, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 20

Young rider:

1, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) 21 hours 27 mins 52 secs
2, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 10 secs
3, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) at 16 secs
4, Mark Downey (Ireland National Team) at 26 sec
5, Regan Gough (New Zealand National Team) at 1 min 8 secs

Irish county rider:

1, Ian Richardson (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles) 21 hours 29 mins 19 secs
2, Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) at 4 mins 9 secs
3, Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) at 6 mins 22 secs
4, Marcus Christie (Louth Asea Wheelworx) at 7 mins 22 secs
5, Sean McKenna (Cork Aquablue) at 9 mins 37 secs

Cycling Ireland category 2:

1, Lewis Ferguson (Down North) 21 hours 40 mins 11 secs
2, Andrew Bye (Down Newry Wheelers) at 15 mins 19 secs
3, Lorcan Davoust (Dublin South) at 49 mins 20 secs
4, John Clarke (Meath Navan Avonmore) at 1 hour 16 mins 32 secs
5, Daragh Mortimer (Dublin South) at 1 hour 27 mins 47 secs

11.45: Here are the international and county team classifications.

Team:

1, Britain Madison Genesis, 64 hours 24 mins 28 secs
2, Netherlands Join-S De Rijke, at 47 secs
3, Ireland An Post Chain Reaction, at 1 min 3 secs
4, Ireland national team, at 1 min 31 secs
5, Australia national team, at 1 min 36 secs

Irish county team:

1, Cork Aquablue, 64 hours 53 mins 56 secs
2, Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles, at 14 secs
3, Down North, at 3 mins 27 secs
4, Kerry, at 7 mins 24 secs
5, Louth Asea Wheelworx, at 7 mins 29 secs

11.46: Nine riders have attacked:

Christopher McGlinchey (Ireland National Team)
Dylan Newbery (Australia Data #3 Cisco Racing Team)
Liam Stones (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)
Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven)
Jeremy Durrin (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team)
Noah Granigan (USA CCB Racing)
David Watson (Down North)
Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap)
Marcus Christie (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

11.48: These have been joined by two others, namely:

Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Simon Ryan (Limerick Mego Raw Cycles)

They are 8 seconds clear.

11.52: These have been caught.

11.54: Three others clip away:

Liam Stones (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)
Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven)
Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

11.56: Raphael Verini (France AVC Aix en Provence) bridges.

11.57: Now Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) bridges.

He is the mountains leader, and is chasing more points. McCrystal is second in the classification, 18 points back. That’s clearly why Holler bridged.

They have covered 45 kilometres and are 42 seconds ahead. They are starting Killinaspick climb (category 3, km. 46.4).

12.01: Average speed for the first hour: 45.4 kilometres per hour.

12.04: Here is the climb result – Holler boosted his lead.

Category three climb of Killinaspick climb (km. 46.4).

Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) 5 pts
Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx) 4
Raphael Verini (France AVC Aix en Provence) 3
Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven) 2

12.07: There are now six chasers one minute 33 seconds back:

Jai Hindley (Australia National Team)
Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)
Jeremy Durrin (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team)
Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform)
Patrick Lechner (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid)
Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)

12.11: These are being chased by James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven)

Further back, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) and Patrick Bosman (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) are chasing.

12.13: Gullen joins the six chasers.

12.15: Dunbar gets across. Bosman, the teammate of the yellow jersey, has gone back to the bunch to help him.

12.16: The eight chasers are at one minute 15 seconds. The yellow jersey group is at two minutes.

12.20: It’s now one minute ten seconds, with the peloton at one minute 45.

The riders are on a long uncategorised drag.

12.23: Those chasers are now one minute 10 seconds back.

Race leader Fankhauser has shown great form, jumping across to that chase group.

12.25: The bunch has now got up to them.

12.27: The five leaders are one minute and eight seconds ahead.

12.28: A number of riders have attacked the bunch.

12.30: These have been joined by others, leading to a chase group of 15:

Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team)
Mark Downey (Ireland National Team)
Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Jai Hindley (Australia National Team)
Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)
Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
Thomas Moses (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven)
Harrison Jones (Britain Pedal Heaven)
Casper Von Folsach (Denmark Riwal Platform)
Ike Groen (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Ian Richardson (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles)
Philip Lavery (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

12.34: These are 46 seconds back.

12.35: The bunch is at one minute ten seconds.

Now three riders attack from the bunch:

Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team)
Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Michael Storer (Australia National Team)

12.38: The 15 man group is now 36 seconds behind.

12.39: The three chasers are a minute back, while the peloton is at one minute ten.

12.44: The leaders are starting the KOM

It is Ballygallon Hill (category 3, km. 76.8)

Meanwhile Dunbar, Shaw and Storer have caught the other chasers.

12.46: The yellow jersey has been driving the peloton and has almost caught the chasers.

The lead group is just 25 seconds ahead of the next riders, so everything is coming back together.

12.50: Here are the results of the last climb:

Category three climb of Ballygallon Hill (km. 76.8):

1, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) 5 pts
2, Raphael Verini (France AVC Aix en Provence) 4
3, Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven) 3
4, Liam Stones (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) 2

Luke Grivell-Mellor (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic) has bridged across to the leaders.

The main field is now 47 seconds back.

12.59: The main bunch is one minute 10 behind now, so they backed off.

13.19: The gap is 40 seconds.

13.22: The leaders have 32 seconds at kilometre 101, the start of Mount Leinster.

Those are some pics from the start line.

13.25: Luke Grivell-Mellor (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic) and Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) pushed forward on the climb.

13.27: Holler then attacked and continued alone.

13.32: He remains out front but the bunch is getting closer. All the others from the break were caught.

13.38: Five riders caught and dropped Holler, namely:

Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team)
Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team)
Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team)
Jai Hindley (Australia National Team)
Michael Storer (Australia National Team)

Another rider, Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling), is chasing alone.

13.39: Riders such as Damien Shaw, third overall, was in a group 55 seconds back.

13.40: The order over the top was:

Category one climb of Mount Leinster (km 106.2):

1, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team)
2, Michael Storer (Australia National Team)
3, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team)
4, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team)
5, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team)
6, Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling)
7, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid)

The Shaw group is at 40 seconds.

13.46: The various groups have all been racing down the descent. They are well inside the final 50 kilometres.

13.49: Fankhauser is driving the front group along, having distanced many of his rivals. There are two chasers at 32 seconds, while the next group is a minute back.

13.52: The leaders are inside the final 40 kilometres.

13.56: There are 18 chasers:

Mark Downey (Ireland National Team)
Damien Shaw (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction)
Martin Weiss (Austria Tirol Cycling Team)
Alistair Donohoe (Australia National Team)
Erick Roswell (Britain Madison Genesis)
Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis)
Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
Luke Grivell-Mellor (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic)
Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform)
Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform)
Florent Castellarnau (France AVC Aix en Provence)
Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid)
Ike Groen (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke)
Hayden Roulston (New Zealand National Team)
Mark Dowling (Louth Asea Wheelworx)

13.58: Apparently there are two more in that group – possibly Edmondson and another. Waiting for confirmation of the two names.

14.05: That second group is a minute back.

The leaders are approaching the 25 to go sign.

14.11: There are three Australians in the five man lead group, namely Hamilton, Storer and Hindley. They are doing the driving while Shaw is riding hard in the group behind.

14.12: 20 km to go for the leaders. The gap is 50 seconds.

14.14: Madison Genesis are also chasing and have brought the gap down to 46 seconds.

14.19: A reminder – this was the top 15 this morning.

General classification after six stages:

1, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) 21 hours 27 mins 49 secs
2, Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis) at 2 secs
3, Damien Shaw (An Post Chain Reaction) same time
4, Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) at 3 secs
5, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) at 5 secs
6, Taco van der Hoom (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) at 6 secs
7, James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 8 secs
8, Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) at 10 secs
9, Lucas Hamiliton (Australia National Team) at 13 secs
10, Rasmus Mygind (Denmark Riwal Platform) at 15 secs
11, Josh Edmondson (Britain NFTO Pro Cycling) at 17 secs
12, Dexter Gardias (Britain Pedal Heaven) at 19 secs
13, Taylor Gunman (Britain Madison Genesis)
14, Edward Dunbar (Ireland National Team) both same time
15, Robbert De Greef (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) at 29 secs

Of those, Fankhauser, Hindley, Hamiliton and Dunbar are in the front group.

14.21: Those could be the new top four later, which is why Holmes and Shaw, second and third this morning, are chasing so hard.

14.22: The latest gap is one minute… Everyone in the front group has a reason to ride, so they will be committed.

14.25: Ten kilometres to go for the leaders…

14.27: The latest gap is 57 seconds… This could have a major effect on the GC.

14.28: We have gone ahead towards the finish. The final three kilometres are flat or slightly downhill, and there is a cross tailwind. It’s going to be very fast.

14.30: The gap is 59 seconds. The roads are wet and there is a 90 degree bend with 400 metres or so to go.

14.34: Two kilometres to go! 

14.36: Waiting…

Dunbar wins!

Great sprint by the Ireland rider. 

Hindley was second with Fankhauser third… 

14.42: The next group was over 30 seconds back so Fankhauser, Hindley, Hamiliton and Dunbar should be the new top four. 

Things remain tight at the top so Fankhauser will have another big day of racing tomorrow. 

That was a great stage, plenty of action. Stand by for provisional results…

There’s the results – we will skedaddle now for interviews, come back tomorrow for the final battle!
*****